Lula has the challenge of organizing his coalition and uniting Brazil | Chronicle of a divided country

From Curitiba

Two weeks have passed since Lula Da Silva was elected president of Brazil for the third time. Two weeks since Lula made the dream of half plus two million Brazilians come true, but who also infuriated, or left “discouraged” , to the rest of the country. “It’s like a World Cup final. Half are happy and the rest are in mourning, with great sadness. A Brazilian sums it up this way the current situation of a country in which two, very opposite.

In the State of ParanaLocated in the richest part of Brazil – the south – Bolsonaro got 62 percent of the vote. In Curitiba, the capital city of the State, the result is reflected in the cars and windows of the apartments waving Brazilian flags, in the stickers with the smiling face of Bolsonaro and the insignia “Honesty, skill and hard work!” pasted on shop windows, on the windows of some papered houses, again, with the Brazilian flag. “This thing about the flags did not happen before Bolsonaro, the Brazilians were not so nationalistic. Bolsonaro brought nationalism back to Brazil”, says Enzo proudly, a retiree from São Paulo who, when asked if he is a Bolsonarista, replies that he is not a Bolsonarista: “I am not a Bolsonarist, I am Brazilian and I did not vote communists”.

After the lockdowns

“Nao tem frango. Not chicken”. The position of graze from one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Curitiba, the Botanical Garden, explained in Portuguese and English that they could not find chicken to fill the famous Brazilian cake, a kind of rectangular fried empanada that is sold at fairs and places on the go. There was meat and cheese, but in those days after the ballotage, the chicken did not manage to cross the more than 300 blockades caused by truck drivers who are followers of Jair Bolsonaro on the entry routes of the most important cities in Brazil.

Júlia attends the stand of graze and he supports Bolsonaro, but not the blockades: “I did not like that they cut streets, because that affects all of Brazil, the economy.” Enzo, the retiree who also voted for Bolsonaro, completes: “That was stupid, because it ended up affecting all Brazilians. A truck that cut a route did not let an ambulance pass and the person died. “The riots were caused by a few Bolsonaristas who made a lot of noise,” says Ciro, a Brazilian businessman who sympathizes with Lula.

Democracy, divine treasure

There seems to be another limit on which the two countries within Brazil find a point of consensus: respect for democracy. It will be because of its past -the military dictatorship here lasted 21 years, from 1964 to 1985, and was the longest in the Southern Cone-, or because of a future that they want to prevent, but the reference to democracy appears in the first lines of all conversations with Brazilians in the days after the elections, no matter what paper they put in the ballot box.

“We are not happy with the result, but democracy is democracy, and it is respected,” reply two young Brazilian women who previously voted for Lula and now supported Bolsonaro because “he is in favor of the family, against abortion and drug legalization”. “Election day was tense, but the result is what it is, because we voted in democracy and we respect democracy. It sucks but it’s the best system”, doubles the bet Enzo. “Lula is democracy”, closes Ciro, the businessman.

In line with the president himself, whose first reaction was not to admit defeat but to ensure that he played “within the limits of the Constitution”, Enzo continues to distrust the results: “The difference was very little and we are not sure that it was really like that,” he says. His wife, who prefers not to say who she voted for, does not hesitate: “There were two million votes difference, we were very discouraged but there was not much to discuss.”

a striped country

The results of the election put into numbers what Brazilians have been feeling for at least five years, but never as strongly as now: “The country is scratched, 50 percent and 50 percent in two totally different projects. Also by state: in the north, simple people vote for Lula and in the south are the richest and most conservative, where Bolsonaro won by up to ten points of difference.

fake news

In the run-up to the elections there were fights, there was fake news, there were weapons, there were deaths.

Especially fake news that today is part of the list of answers that continue to be repeated to the question: “Why did you vote for Bolsonaro?” That Lula is a dictator, that Lula stole. That he wants to establish unisex toilets throughout Brazil. That he is going to fill the country with drugs. That in the north they have less education and that is why they vote for Lula. That “I do not vote communists”. That Lula favored the poorest, and he forgot about those who had something.

Germano, a young man who voted for Lula but “doesn’t say it much, so as not to fight,” acknowledges that he has been avoiding his family for a month, despite the fact that they made a pact not to talk about politics: “Society is divided in two but only the Bolsonaristas manifest themselves”, he assures. He is not the only Brazilian who brought the World Cup final to the family table. After the known results, they agree that the more tense climate is no longer on the streets, but concentrated on social networks: “I left many WhatsApp groups and decided to stop posting about politics on Instagram, because I am not going to convince anyone there. I only upload photos of my kittens and my plants,” she says.

A double edged alliance

In addition to taking office in a country divided in the middle, Lula has another great behind-the-scenes challenge: organize your own coalition, this time, to govern. It is that one of the strategies to win the elections was to make a broad alliance that began on the left and extends to the center-right. To iron out rough edges with economic power, Lula revived his historical adversary Geraldo Alckmin, the future vice president of Brazil and former figure of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). He also allied himself with the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), the Communist Party of Brazil, Rede de Marina Silva, among others.

“Lula is more than the PT. What I rescue from the phrases when he took office is the one that he said the coalition won”, explains Ciro, the businessman from the South who sympathizes with Lula and hopes that his economy minister “is not someone who spends more than he has”. Germano, who put the same paper in the ballot box, is suspicious: “The center is dangerous. It is written in the bible:I wish you were hot or cold! But because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”, he recites. Likewise, he clarifies that she trusts in Lula’s intelligence and experience “so as not to have to throw up.”

Lula has the challenge of organizing his coalition and uniting Brazil | Chronicle of a divided country